Food & Drink

In the Kitchen With: The Pollans’ Grand Marnier Cake

by Kristina Gill

After our last Behind the Bar cocktail, the Long Kiss Goodnight, which featured Grand Marnier, I started to look around for other ways to use the liqueur in my cooking. I found one great way in this week’s recipe from the Pollans’ Cookbook for Grandma Mary’s Grand Marnier Orange Cake. The Pollan family includes many familiar names: Tracy Pollan — Emmy-award nominated actress and wife of Michael J. Fox; Corky Pollan — New York Magazine’s ‘Best Bets’ editor of 18 years and style director of Gourmet Magazine; sisters Lori and Dana Pollan; and food-guru brother Michael Pollan, who wrote the foreword for the family’s new cookbook. As for the cake, the addition of Greek yogurt makes a moist, soft crumb, and the orange scent added by the zest and glaze is heavenly for citrus lovers. The cake also has excellent keeping qualities, if you manage to save any once it is presented to your family or friends! 

Read more about the Pollan Family and their work .

See how to make the delicious bundt cake after the jump!


Grandma Mary’s Grand Marnier Orange Cake

Makes one 10-inch Bundt cake (10 to 12 servings)


  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, extra for greasing pan
  • 3 tablespoons sliced blanched almonds
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • 1/3 cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

To make

  1. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan.
  2. Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until they are toasted and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool on the pan. Leave the oven on.
  3. In a medium mi bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside. In a large mi bowl, using a wooden spoon, cream the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat until blended. Alternate adding thirds of the flour mixture and the yogurt and mix until smooth. Stir in the orange zest and walnuts.
  4. Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry, about 2 minutes. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan, smoothing the top. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 7 to 10 minutes.
  6. While the cake is cooling, combine the Grand Marnier and orange juice in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the remaining ½ cup of sugar and stir for 2 minutes, until well blended. Remove from the heat.
  7. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place a wire cooling rack on top. Invert the cake onto the wire cooling rack and spoon half the glaze over the top of the cake. Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top, then spoon on the remaining glaze. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and spoon any glaze drippings that have pooled on the parchment paper back onto the cake.

Tracy, Dana, Lori & Corky Making the Pollan Family Signature Salad A130611 The Pollan Family Cookbook 2013
Why the Pollans love this recipe: This was our Grandmother Mary’s sophisticated version of the traditional Jewish nut cake — but just as easy to make. I [Lori Pollan] was a waitress for many summers on Martha’s Vineyard, and one summer I was also a dessert “chef”— this cake would sell out immediately whenever I baked it. I have fine-tuned Mary’s recipe over the years — replacing the sour cream with Greek yogurt, doubling the nuts, and cooking the glaze.

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